Will Rogers' Weekly Articles

WA341 July 7, 1929

PUT CAL TO WORK

Well all I know is just what I read in the papers, and the Magazines. You know if you want to get what Mr. Coolidge says, you got to get it in the Magazines. When he was just President you could read what he said in the newspapers for three cents. But since he is the Late Ex President why itís 35 cents. Not only Mr. Coolidge but all of our big men are breaking out in small thick periodicals.

I just last night read two very nice human stories, one in the American Magazine and the other in the Cosmopolitan, both of which Mr. Coolidge had written. One was on his life up around Plymouth notch Vermont. He told of his early school days, he said when he was three years old he knew his letters, and started to school at five and at twelve he knew as much as the Teacher, in fact he said he knew as much as any teachers up there. The way he kinder explained it he just was on the verge of being a Child Prodigy.

At twelve they sent him away to school at Ludlow. I was up through there and visited Plymouth and Ludlow and all those historic places, and Ludlow is just about two hills and a valley away, but in those days it constituted going some place. He paid a mighty fine tribute to the upbringing of the Country Boy, said if he had to be brought up again that he would just go ahead and be brought up in the same place. Course he knows how itís done now and the next time wouldent be so hard.

I never was President, I never was even a Senator. But so would I choose to be brought up where I was brought up. But I bet you there is a lot of things I did that you bet I would know better than to do them again. If I was going to be brought up again, the first thing I would specialize in would be boxing, then the next time I would just go through life getting even with a few that kinder hung it on me then.

He said it was winter and the snow was on the ground when he left for school and he went in a sleigh. Him and a Calf. The calf was going to market and him to Washington, (only then he dident know it). His whole story was a mighty human document. You know thatís one thing about Mr. Coolidge he has never been spoiled.

Then in the other Article he dwelled on his life in the White House. He could tell you the exact number of dinners that they entertained and the exact number they went out too. In fact he could tell you what they was supposed to eat at each place. Told about feeding the Senators and Congressmen at breakfasts at the White House. He laid particular stress on the fact that he fed some Democratic ones. He seemed to bring that out to show his liberality. Fed íem even when he knew he would get no favors from them. Paid a lovely compliment to Mrs. Coolidge which was richly deserved.

You know itís kinder nice to have our Presidents and big men get right down human and tell us what they are thinking about. But they should never be allowed to have all this time to do all this reminiscing. I tell you with all our boasted generosity we are an ungrateful Nation: we donít do a thing for our retired Presidents. I donít mean declare a pension for them. Itís not generally money they need, (though very few have a competent income to keep them in comparitive luxury for the rest of their lives). But itís employment; itís work they need. They should be paid a handsome sum but know that they were delivering something for it.

Who knows more of the workings of our Government than the man that has run it for four or eight years? Who knows more of our Foreign relations? Cabinet men know of their Departments, but the President knows of all Departments. There should be some position created where we could benefit from the knowledge and advice of a man that we have had in training all these years. It should be something where he would be a Member, we will say, of our Foreign Relation Committee. Now they are disscussing something that he is bound to know more about than any of them. For he has had access to knowledge that never reaches them. He could explain to them why it might be advisable to take a certain course, and give them reasons that before that might never occur to them.

He would have no vote so he couldent possibly be a balance of power. Not only Foreign Relations but various of our very important Committees Agriculture, Federal Reserveóeven if he should be of the opposite Political faith of his successor, (which donít happen often). His duties should not conflict in any way with the Presidentís policys. He simply expresses an opinion, an opinion backed by knowledge.

Then he would feel like he was a real benefit to his Country. It would keep him active, and would bring us back a thousand fold what we paid him. Make his salary at least fifty thousand a year. Thatís about what you can get for managing a little chain of Drug Stores, or a small Oil Company. Then it would also give him a chance while in office to give more and better service to us. For his thoughts would not be continually on what he was going to do for a living when he had to get out. He would know what he was going to do.

Now you have often heard about pensioning them, but thatís no good, (course it beats what we got now) but this scheme of mine is to keep him working for us.

I will take it up with Congress and if anything comes of it, I will expect my commission from Mr. Coolidge and also Mr. Taft, for the Bill will be made retroactive.1 Itís such a good Bill it will go through along with Farm Relief.

1For William Howard Taft see WA 330:N 7.

WA342 July 14, 1929

DISCREDITING LINDY

Well all I know is just what I read in the papers. Lindy was just out among us a few days ago and opened up his line to the East, I predict that to be a great success in the near future.1 Itís just a nice easy jaunt from New York, two nights on the train, two days flying, no tremendous long hops that canít be made, but just a fine sure trip, they allow themselves two or three hours for delays and then can make their schedule each jump. I came out over the line when I came west six weeks ago and I think itís the ideal trip. The only thing, itís awful slow getting on those trains at night, it looks like losing a lot of time crawling along on them. But by doing that you have no night flying, and it helps to take off six or seven hundred miles.

And speaking of Lindy, some of the writings of our eastern newspaper men have been trickling into my view and it brought to light a kind of a concerted idea to try and cut the boy from up around the heart of his country and re-deposit him down along its footpaths. I had no idea they took it so serious when he so completely made a sucker out of them during his late honeymoon. I was out here in the west and didnít get the undercurrent of rumblings that they were letting out, and trying to insinuate that he ďhadnít done right by our press,Ē that they had made him and that he was ungrateful.

Now we will just stop and take up that bit of propaganda right now. Lindbergh was made by just two things. The Lord and a Wright Whirlwind Motor. Newspapers couldnít have flew him from one side of a razor blade to another. They reported the fact that he arrived there. Sure they did, but donít you think the French would have found it out sooner or later, and eventually have got the news back over here to us, even if it had to gone by word of mouth? I think that sooner or later after hearing of it that we would have suspected that it was considerable of a feat without even seeing a headline of it. Somebody would have no doubt given us the facts of the trip by book, and it might possibly have been announced over the radio, for those fellows are awful scarce of things to talk about sometimes.

Our Savior performed some pretty handy feats in the early days and his exploits have been handed down through the ages and made him our greatest hero, all accomplished without the aid of a newspaper. No weekly camera man recorded his daily adventures, he had to receive his publicity by word of mouth. Still he become quite famous even during his lifetime.

I am making no comparison, I am only showing what has been done. For after all the greatest publicity and interest in the world is to be told about something, not to have read about it. So I am going to argue with anybody who says that they made Lindbergh. In fact the less printed about people sometimes make folks more anxious and more interested in them, so when he drove out through the gate, with his bride of only a few minutes by his side, and waved the boys ďa merry how de doĒ why I donít think he owed íem a thing. Any man that flown the ocean alone, and returned to his people even though they be Zulus, and couldnít read, they would have been awful apt to consider him quite a boy. Being a good navigator, did him more good than all the editorials ever printed.

But when we turn the tables, what did he do for the newspapers? We get a different story. He gave íem the next most publicity to the war, if he had been paid for his stuff at just a fair authorís rate he would have been the highest salaried man in the world, what would some millionaire newspaper owner have given him if it had been possible to have, bought and controlled the entire rights of everything that was to printed about him and photographers? They ought to change the Lordís Prayer to read, ďNow I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord Lindbergh to keep. If he should die before he wakes, I pray the Lord his picture to take.Ē He has paid their rent for two years.

No, you writers when you try to pull that boy down you are just trying to fill up the Grand Canyon with old chewing gum, itís all right to try and be different and not string with the mob, but before you start doing it announce that thatís what you are doing it for, itís not a case of ordinary hero worship. Itís that the boy licks you at every turn. He won more friends by the way he conducted his engagement and his honeymoon than he did by his flight.

The flight only showed daring, ability, and of course good fortune, but his last adventure, showed shrewdness, modesty, and 100 percent common sense. When her family had to ask the police for protection against the press, that just about threw the last doubting vote over to the Lindbergh column in favor of ďgive a lover a chance.Ē

He has never made a wrong move yet, everything he has done has reflected glory on his country, he has been a gentleman under some pretty trying times. And we must never forget the one great thing of his flight, (whether he was sent over as a stowaway under auspices of the Oolagah Banner, or whether the trip was a blindfold cigarette test) he turned Americaís mind to aviation, just at a time when we was on the verge of going back to covered wagon days instead of the air.

After all, there is a mighty little line between do and donít, a small margin between success and failure. His exploit just give us that little push that sent us over into the aviation line, instead of decided that ďit wasnít practical.Ē

No, letís donít tear him down, at least while he is living and conducting himself in the manner he is. Wait a few years and then show that he didnít cross himself at all but used a double.

Itís all right now in these late years to show that George Washington would have fought on the British side if they had given him a commission and if Grant hadnít got drunk he wouldnít have won the war. But donít denounce Lindy because he didnít marry the press instead of Miss Morrow.

1Lindbergh (see WA 338:N 1) helped to found Transcontinental Air Transportation, an unique, short-lived ďweddingĒ of air-rail transportation.

WA343 July 21, 1929

STAYING UP IN THE AIR

Well all I know is just what I read in the papers, Or what I see as I prowl around. You know there has been quite an epidemic here lately all over our Country of trying to break the endurance record for sustained flight in the air, by re-fueling while still up there. Of course the Army fliers really started the thing out in California when they were up for five or six days. Then two old Boys from down in Amon Carterville near Dallas broke the Armyís record.1 That was a great flight and they received and deserved a lot of credit. Well that record held till Cleveland Ohio could get a Plane and then two fellows from there went out and broke the Fort Worth Boys record. Well they hadent even come down in Cleveland till a couple of old Country boys from out at Culver City California went up and stayed till it looked like they was going to have to shoot íem to get íem to come down.

Now that is the flight I want to tell you about. The reason I want to tell you about it is that I was over there when it was made. Now in the first place ďWhere is Culver City?Ē Culver City is a mighty thriving little City right in the edge of Los Angeles. It was founded by Harry Culver, a young hustling fellow, and he is now the head of the whole United States Real Estate Board, and incidentally one of the greatest boosters for Aviation we have.2 He has his own plane and Pilot and flies all over the United States and he hasent tipped a Pullman Porter in years. And it seems a kind of a happy coincidence that he is the founder of the Town where this record flight was made.

You all, all over the world hear about Hollywood, and hear of it as the home of all the films, when as a matter of fact there are more pictures made in Culver City than in all Hollywood. This Culver landed some of the biggest Studios three years ago and they have grown bigger ever since. Itís one of the few towns that have not been swallowed up by Los Angeles. It and Beverly Hills. You see Los Angeles got all these adjoinging towns in because they had a fine water system and water in what is normally a desert Country is just about the whole thing, so they held this water over these other townsí heads and they had to come in to get some water. In other words they started the boys in bigger taxes. But old Culver City, and Beverley Hills dug themselves up some water and stuck it out. But letís get down to the flight.

I was working at a Studio not so far over from there, and we never paid much attention to these two fellows. We read that they were up in the air for one of these tests, but that dident mean anything. Every town that could get together two planes would send one up for a test and keep the other to reload it. Well some of them stayed up till dark and some got through the night, but we kept on gradually reading about how these two Birds from right under our nose at Culver City was still up. Well I got to driving over to see what was holding íem up and to see if they had a Stowaway on there.

But I think we are about cured of the stowaway craze, that last one just about killed it for all stowaways.

I happened to be on the field the afternoon they broke the record; then they had to fly one more hour to make it official. It was about one thirty in the afternoon when the refueling Plane went aloft to give them more gas, and let me tell you something about the credit for one of these things. Donít overlook the men that take up the gas. You know there is some mighty ticklish things about this continually re-fueling in the air. The way these fellows worked it, Paul Whittier, a mighty fine young Pilot, son of a very wealthy family out here who were the founders of Beverley Hills, piloted the Gas Wagon, or as they call it the Nurse ship.3

It was an old ďCurtis PigeonĒ with an old Liberty motor. Then Slade Hulbert was what they called the contact man.4 He had a hole in the bottom of the ship and had to lay down on his stomach in there and let the hose out through the bottom, first with a rope that the man in the other ship would grab. He was standing up through a hole that had been cut in the top of a closed job. He would reach out and get the rope, now here is where the great danger come in was to keep that rope or that hose from getting caught in the propeller of the lower ship. If at any time during all those contacts it had ever touched the propeller it would have been all off. They would generally have to fly out over the ocean to do the refueling as the air was more smooth out there.

One day they couldent get the old Nurse ship off the ground, and the boys above, Pilots Mendell and Rhinehardt were just about out of gas when another ship went up with no hose attachment, but just a rope and a five gallon can of Gas in a canvas sack and just lowered that over to the boys who grabbed it and saved the trip.5 Another time they got lost in the fog and the Nurse ship went up and they hunted each other for a long time over the top of the fog, which was twenty five hundred feet thick, they got together back down under it just as they were on their last gallon.

The boys got terrible seasick up there the first two or three days. They were sent up all kinds of stuff for it. Then as time went along they got stronger and more cheerful every day, and they always kept their sense of humor with them (they sent down some awful funny notes, mostly kidding about the old Mack Truck, as they called their ship they were re-fueling from). It was so hot up there they dident wear their clothes, just run the ship in their underwear, with all the windows open. They fixed up a sort of a blown up bed that they could take it time about sleeping on. You know when you just think of fellows staying up there and one lone engine going and carrying all that weight all that many days it sure does give you a great confidence in the Motors that we are using in Planes nowadays.

You know Young McAdoo, W. G.ís oldest Boy and his Partner, a Mr. McManus, were really responsible for this remarkable flight.6 There is a whole lot more to this than just saying I will go up and break a record. It takes a lot of cooperation and work and much planning ahead. But it all helps aviation tremendously, and it was a real kick to stand on that field and see them at the very moments that they were breaking the record, the longest that any humans had ever stayed up. In fact, I guess that took in birds and fowls too.

1Amon Giles Carter, publisher of the Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram and influential civic leader of Fort Worth and booster of Texas.
2Harry Hazel Culver, Southern California real estate developer and bank executive; founder and builder of Culver City, California.
3Paul Whittier, aviator son of Max Whittier, California oilman and one of the original developers of Beverly Hills.
4Slade Hulbert, unidentified.
5Loren Mendell and Roland B. ďPeteĒ Reinhart, two West Coast fliers, set a world record for endurance flying in July 1929. The mark was broken less than one month later.
6William Gibbs McAdoo, Jr., naval veteran of World War I, graduate of Princeton University, and California businessman and sportsman; son of William Gibbs McAdoo, Sr., United States secretary of the treasury from 1913 to 1918 and prominent candidate for the Democratic nomination for the presidency in 1920 and 1924. A. E. McManus, Jr., British-American flier; former aviator with the Royal Air Force.


WA344 July 28, 1929

DONíT ARGUE WITH CHINA

Well all I know is just what I read in the papers. Things been going on pretty good the last few weeks. I knew things would pick up as soon as Congress quit. Mr. Hoover has stuck around Washington and itís away in the middle of the summer it looks like the Summer Resorts will have to look for some other add than him. The Black Hills, or the White ones are out of luck as far as the weeklies are concerned this summer. He kinder goes out there in the edge of Maryland, and Virginia some place and catches a few old cat fish ever Saturday. But outside of that he has been right on the job all the time.

His Farm board met a couple of weeks ago, and a funny thing happened. The day they met the price of wheat went up. But as soon as they saw the board wasent going to do anything, why it went back down again. They just met and kinder got organized, and we really donít know what they will try to do. They have got I believe itís five hundred million dollars. Itís to kinder help stabalize prices, or do something, anyhow the Boys are not working exactly what you would call empty handed. There will be some money put in circulation. But it will be passing by the Farmer so fast and often that he will think itís on a Merry Go Round.

Then Mr. Hooverís Prohibition Commission is all organized and on the look out to see if this drinking has been exaggerated or is it a habit. The Head Man of that, Mr. Wickersham I believe it is, he issued a Statement to all the Governors who were assembled and asked the States to try and help.1 New York and a lot of the others got their annual laugh. They wonít join in any enforcement at all. Well about all that that Commission has done is just to make that appeal. It sounds like it was awful reasonable, but it wonít get anywhere.

There are just little things that have been happening around home here, of course if you want to get out in the World and start making observations, why there is really something doing. China and Russia, while they donít speak the same language, have in some way hired an Interpreter and informed each other that a war would not be uncalled for. So they been drawing up the contracts. Nobody donít know what itís all about so you might say it is a typical war. Wars always start by somebody wanting somebody else to apologize for something, maby for something which the other dident even do. Then they Alabi it with calling it a war of honor. Maby neither one of them havent really got any more honor than a Rabbitt. But the old Propaganda gets to working, and the big men let it be known that the country has been insulted, and that they must arise and make the other nation take back water.

The same old Bull is going on in the opponentís camp, both sides trying to manufacture a national hate, that donít even exist. Now whatís Russia care or got to do with China. Both of them are the biggest Nations in area in the World. There is nothing either one has that the other wants. But they must have a war. Other Nations have become famous through wars so Russia feels like that is just about what they need to make the front page.

Itís supposed to be something about a Railroad in China that China owns, but they donít run it like Russia wants it run. Course, Japan she is watching to see where she can dip in to the best advantage, and we are watching Japan, and the first thing you know we will all be lining up and forming little alliances, and the same old combinations will getting togeather again. Diplomacy will start operating, and thatís the match that starts all the wars. Now how could anybody come to be having an argument with China? She is the most peaceful Nation on earth outside of Switzerland. China goes her own way, minds her own business, and would like to live off to herself if these other Nations including us would let her. But, no, everybody must horn into China. China never in her life had any private business. Chinaís business is everybodyís business.

Saw a picture in the Movies the other night of Ramsey McDonald the new British Premier.2 He was introducing his Cabinet. He has a lot of humor and a fine personality. Just think of those old Britishers, with all their pomp and tradition, having to be rule by labor. They grin and bear it fine for they are fine Sportsmen but you know it must be pretty galling to those old Titled ones. I would like to be over there now and get all the real dope from Lady Astor, she is the brightest Political mind I ever run into.3

They been having an awful time over in France about paying us the debt. But this fellow Briand and Poincaire seem to have finally won.4 They told the Chamber of Deputies, ďOne time Germany was at our very doorstep, and we asked the United States to help us and they did. Now should missfortune ever again threaten us, letís donít have them say, ĎNo once was enough for us; we helped you once and you dident seem to appreciate it, so never again.í ď Well that convinced the Boys that even a war debt has some grounds of equity. You see France wanted to wait and see how this Young Plan worked, (and by the way I want to remind you again that his fellow Owen D. Young that drew it up is still a Democrat) I just dident want to let it be forgotten.5 These Republicans grab off everything, and when us Democrats get ahold of something good why we want the credit.

So get this straight. Young is a Democrat, but donít make the mistake of running him for President, we want to have him well known for a long time yet.

Well thatís just about all the big news thatís happened in the last few weeks. Aimee has been away from us here in California.6 She went back to try and civilize Detroit, but give up. Young Senator La Follette is here.7 I had a visit with him the other day. He has a lot of the old Gentleman in him, and seems to be a mighty sincere boy.8

1George Woodward Wickersham, former attorney general of the United States who headed a famous presidential commission in 1929 that surveyed the enforcement of the Eighteenth Amendment.
2James Ramsay MacDonald, British Labor party leader who served as prime minister of Great Britain in 1924 and from 1929 to 1931 and 1931 to 1935.
3Nancy Langhorne Astor, American-born wife of Lord Waldorf Astor and, as a British subject, the first woman elected to the House of Commons, serving from 1919 to 1945.
4Aristide Briand, prime minister of France from 1909 to 1911, 1915 to 1917, 1921 to 1922, 1925 to 1926, and in 1929. Raymond Poincarť, prime minister of France from 1912 to 1913, 1922 to 1924, and 1926 to 1929. He also served as minister of finance and held other high governmental posts.
5For Owen D. Young see WA 340:N 6.
6Aimee Semple McPherson, American evangelist who preached a Pentecostal, fundamentalist, faith-healing doctrine. McPherson, who enjoyed a great following in the 1920s and 1930s, was the founder of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel based in Los Angeles.
7Robert Marion La Follette, Jr., Republican United States senator from Wisconsin from 1925 to 1947.
8Robert Marion La Follette, Sr., leading progressive Republican politician who served as congressman and senator from Wisconsin and as governor of the state. He died in 1925.


WA345 August 4, 1929

SOME SENATORS ARE REAL NICE

Well all I know is just what I read in the papers, and what I run into hither and yon. You know I like to make little jokes and kid about the Senators. They are a kind of a never ending source of amusement, amazement, and Discouragement. But the Rascals, when you meet íem face to face and know íem, they are mighty nice fellows. It must be something in the office that makes íem so honery sometimes. When you see what they do officially you want to shoot íem, but when one looks at you and grins so innocently, why you kinder want to kiss him.

We got a young fellow in there that you have all heard a lot about, and maby lots of you never met him personally, although you would like to. Well thatís the way I was, I had always admired his Father, for he was a real fearless Fighter, with a world of ability. I expect he was admired more by his enemies than any man we ever had in public life. For they knew that he was on the level. Now itís a funny thing about off-springs in the human race.

Itís not like its animal neighbor. A race horse is almost sure to breed another race horse. He may not be as fast as the old Father Horse. But he will show a lot of speed nevertheless, and Dogs follow along in the make of their ancestors. You take a couple of pretty well bred Airdales and you can rest assured you are not going to get a Pot Hound. But with the Human race you may just as well throw your register book in the creek, for what the mating brings forth no human mind can even guess, much less be certain of. You are just liable to have some fine old stock bring forth a family of human Mutts as to produce an amateur Lincoln.

Thatís one of the main places where the Human race differs from the purely and totally animal. In nearly every other respect, the human race is just about on a par with its animal brothers. Given the same conditions they will both do about the same thing. In intelligence they run about even; in self preservation, they are 50-50. The animal will kill to improve itís food supply just about as quick as the human. The animal is about as untrustworthy as its 100% Human brother. So if it wasent for the breeding why there would be no reason to distinguish one from the other. We would just be classed as another breed of Cats, or Bears, or some other Species. But on account of us being so uncertain as to what we will produce why we are known as the Humans.

Human comes from the old Spanish word ďHuber.Ē Huberís used to be a Museum on 14th Street, New York. And they had everything in there, and from there they gradually got to calling people, Humans. Itís just a name and has practically no significience at all.

Ancestors donít mean a thing in our tribe. Itís as unreliable as a political promise. Able bodied Newfoundlanders produce Scotch terriers in the breed Human. A western range Mare is liable to produce a Man of War in our strata of existence.1 You just donít know what will happen. You just have to raise íem up till they are 22 or 23 and then start guessing. They no more take after their Father and Mother than a Congressman will take after a good example.

Mind you, I am not in the least criticising all this, for itís like everything else; itís for the best. If this Country did take after itís Fathers, God help it. Itís because most of them are an improvement over their Fathers is why we have such low taxes, good Radio announcers, and Farm relief.

But every once in awhile we get ahold of a great Father who begets a great Son, and this offspring I am referring to is of that very type. He looks mighty like he was going to pick up the old manís pack and carry on with it. I had met him before, that is casually. It was in a crowd and I dident want anybody to know that I knew a Senator. But the other day he come up to my place with his Brother in Law, and a friend of mine, Mr. Middleton the Playwright, and I had the pleasure of knowing and chatting for two or three hours with Young Senator Bob La Follette, of I think itís Wisconsin, or Minnesota, (I always get those two mixed up).2 But wherever it is, itís where Glenn Frank has charge of an experimental Laboratory, and instead of using Guinea Pigs, they used Football Players.3

Well Sir, this young fellow and I took up the Government business, just where it should be taken up, which is at the source, and I wish Coolidge and Hoover could have heard us. They would have learned something to their advantage. This Boy has got a lot of the old Father in him. He knows there is a lot ďHooeyĒ in Washington and they know that he knows it. I heard him make the best speech that was made at the Republican Convention in Kansas City. I donít know what he was doing there, he would have fit in just as well at Houston.

He has a lot of ideas that on account of their merit wonít get anywhere, and he is smart enough to know they wonít probably be adopted for twenty years. But he must get a certain kick out of suggesting them first. He is just the most pleasant congenial, square thinking, plain talking fellow you ever met. He donít feel that he has any great work to carry on, Has no cause. He was born and bred in Politics and knows you must give lest you wonít receive. He takes it serious but not solemn.

Itís just a pleasure to meet and spend the hours with him. He donít think the Country is going to H___. But he sees no reason why we shouldent.

My wife as usual summed him up in one remark, ďThat fellow would have made good in a legitimate business.Ē

1Man Oí War, American-bred race horse which won twenty of twenty-one races from 1919 to 1920 and set five American track records during a brief racing career.
2George Middleton, American dramatist who wrote numerous successful plays produced since 1902, including The Cavalier and The Sinner. For Robert M. La Follette, Jr., see WA 344:N 7.
3Glenn Frank, American educator and editor; president of the University of Wisconsin from 1925 to 1937.


WA346 August 11, 1929

THAT RUSSIAN-CHINESE WAR MAY FALL THROUGH

This Russia China War has had us all worked up here for the last few weeks. But it looks like they just canít work up much enthusiasm. In the first place itís too far away from civilization. (Wherever civilization is.) You canít sell any war bonds to people when they canít get over and see how their war is getting on. None of our other big Nations have enough concessions and interests in there to make them want to protect them.

Japan who would perhaps prosper more from a war of that description, they donít hardly know what to do about it. They have been fighting China for generations, and naturally feel that they have the exclusive privilege. They have whipped China so much that they have just gone by default. And they have already got about all of China that is any good. And they also hold a decision over Russia. So Japan is what you might call the ďSmellingĒ of the Far East.1

But in this case they donít know who they want to win. The one that wins will be much stronger, and might some day give them opposition. And unless they both whipped each other why Japan donít know who she would really be pulling for.

China has been awful nice to us, they have let us use their home grounds to send our Marines when we didnít have any other war on for them at the time. They have let us mingle in every private war they have had. Why there has been times that if it hadnít been for China allowing us to go in and shoot at them, why we wouldnít have had a soul in the World to shoot at. We have made íem keep what we call the ďOpen Door.Ē That meant that they wasnít allowed to charge too much tariff on our stuff coming in, or they wasnít to keep us out of any family feuds they might have. In fact we was taken in as one of the family.

They are the most self sustaining Country in the World, and would like to live and exist all off to themselves. But of course countries like us and England and Germany and France, we can see right away that that wouldnít really be the thing for them to do, so we have to go in and help them out. Some times we have to shoot íem, they are so hard headed and wonít see it our way. So we all manage their affairs so well that they donít have anything to do with their own customs.

There is five hundred million of them, that was at the last Census, which was taken on Confusciousí 10th birthday. Next to poor people they breed faster than any other race. Lots of them canít talk to each other, which is no great handicap, for they probably wouldnít have anything to say of interest. In that way they are civilized. They figure that there is enough Chinamen alive today that if they come to Los Angeles, and each bought a lot, that it would almost take up the amount that is sub-divided now. We send many Missionaries there. They go through Chicago on their way out. Missionaries teach íem not only how to serve the Lord but run a Ford Car. Then the American Agent sells íem one. You take religion backed up by Commerce and itís awful hard for a Heathen to overcome.

They are getting more civilized though all the time. They are not only learning how to use opium from us, but they are learning how to sell it to us. We control the Automobile Industry of the entire world, which kills off more people in one year than the whole Opium Industry in ten. But they are ambitious, and are doing their best to catch us.

There has been an awful lot of internal dissension in China. There has been a gang up in the North in Manchuria, that have kinder compared to our Democrats down south. They have been trying to get in and see what the shooting was all about. They are headed by some fellow called Chang.2 He is kinder the Al Smith of the Prairies.3

England has been awful nice to them and helped íem run their business even more than we have, if that is possible. There is one town called Shanghi that the Chinese were running it so un-English that the English had to go right in and go to the trouble of taking over the whole thing, and now a Chinaman has to come in on a Passport. English Gunboats are so far up the Chinese Rivers that it takes Chinese Guides to bring íem back down. If a Chinese Gunboat ever got in Radio hearing from Liverpool it would bring on International complications. When a problem comes up in China and the Chinese are in doubt as to what to do, why England tells íem.

Yet through all this they have lived and existed and raised more children than an Englishman or an American could even count. They have taught more love and instilled more respect in their families for each other, than we even have for the law. Now Russia kinder wants to jump on íem, for they figure a war would just about give them enough advertising that it would get them recognized. China hasnít done anything to íem. Thatís what makes Russia sore at them is because they have given íem no reasons to fight.

A war either makes or breaks a Nation, so you always got a fifty-fifty break. But I think since Russia got so hostile, that they have kinder counted China. Then too they have figured that itís a long way to go for the eggs. That Trans-siberian railway looks all right on a map, but you try to ferry an Army across it, and itís like getting across Fifth Avenue. But it wasnít so much that as it was that the other Nations just didnít hardly see their way clear what they would get out of it, so the war had no outside boosting. You know you canít get a war in a minute. It takes years of hard boosting and planning and scheming, and a lot more arrangements than you would at first think. Did you ever read Lord Greyís books, and all the other Diplomats ones too?4 Why there was a time there before the World war that it looked like it would fall through. So China and Russia will fight, donít forget that, but not till the Nations that are not in it decide that they should.

1Max Siegfried Schmeling, German boxer who held the world heavyweight championship from 1930 to 1932. The most successful professional boxer in German history.
2Chiang Kai-shek, Chinese general and political leader; president of the Chinese Nationalist government from 1928 to 1931, 1948 to 1949, and 1950 until his death in 1975.
3For this and all further references to Al Smith see WA 333:N 1.
4Edward Grey, British statesman who served as secretary of state for foreign affairs from 1905 to 1916 and who was a prominent figure in the diplomatic confrontation before World War I. His memoirs and papers were published in 1925 and 1926.


WA347 August 18, 1929

THOUGHTS ON FLYING

Well, all I know is just what I read in the papers. Now lets just see what has been flitting across these truthful organs front pages in the last few weeks. Course Aviation got a great boost when the German Zep come zooming in and on by. I would have sure liked to have been on that old Sister. Not as a Stowaway. I donít know why those birds get my ďNannyĒ so but they sure do. Let me see a Stowaway and I sure see red.

Itís been a mighty eventful last few days in that nobody has broken the refueling record. That seventeen-day thing was just on the verge of being discouraging to Aviators that wanted to stay away from home only a few days.

They opened up a line from out here on the west Coast to Mexico City and Central America. They just got íem going pretty near everywhere now. I see where Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker, our great Ace (and by the way, one Hero who really never received anything like his proportionate share of Hero worship. I want to drop you all a line about that very thing some time and discuss it with you. He has never let a yelp out and has conducted himself in fine, high-class manner all these years since then), says that the demand for air travel in this country in the next few years will far exceed the amount of available planes.1

Here is twelve different and well equipped landing fields right here in Los Angeles, every one almost with a line running out to some place. Itís got by the boosting stage, itís in with the necessities now. It sure has been hot all over the country. Course these papers out here never refer to our heat. Itís always the amount of heat prostration in the east and middle west that make the front headlines, but just between you and I itís been so hot out here that the headlines of other heat waves have melted on the page while you was reading it.

I been working on one of those talking pictures, but itís been on one of the new soundproof stages and itís all air cooled, and we have had it pretty soft, we was fine till we started home in the evening.

But I guess itís been pretty general all over the country. I donít see how President Hoover has stood it staying practically right in Washington all summer. Course he went over in Virginia on what we learn from England to call the ďweek end.Ē But even when you are in Virginia you havenít helped out the District of Columbia much. He has been doing a little amateur Dam building on his camp up there.

He has been trying to fix one to make a swimming pool, but he hasent been able to get one to hold water long enough to get yourself wet in it yet. He has been away from construction work so long since he got mixed up in politics that he just canít get any real constructive personal work done. But he goes out and catches a few old cat fish every Saturday and feeds the renegade Senators that drop in over Sunday to escape going to services in Washington and to talk over the tariff.

Reed Smoot brings out some foreign and some domestic sugar every week end and shows him the inferiority of the foreign brand, claims Phillipine and Cuban sugar are whatís causing all the discontent in this Country.2 He lays all the late jail breaks on the lack of tarriff on sugar.

By the way some guy several weeks ago shipped some apricots back east and had them labeled that they were raised on Mr. Hooverís private ranch, and they sold like gold Nuggets. Mr. Hoover heard of it and sent íem word that he was no more responsible for them, or where they come from, than Dr. Mayo was responsible for that 18 day diet that they tried to lay onto him.3 That whole thing was got up by the Grapefruit Growers Association and has taken off less pounds and ruined more stomachs than anything outside of Carbolic acid.

Somebody ought to figure out a reducing process where you donít have to go through any hardships in the way of denying yourself anything but just slice off a chunk someplace. They take off an arm or a leg with no danger whatever, so in this plan they could remove it from spots where a diet canít generally reach it. They whittled down Peaches Browningís underpinnings by some outside process, and while I havenít been fortunate enough to feast my eyes on them, they say you canít hardly see where any has been taken off.

If I was one of these big Surgeons thatís what I would specialize in. My calling cards would read something like this, ďDrs. Moore and White, removers of protruding hips, remakers of body lines, distorted calves removed while you wait.5 Legs brought back with the bounds of garters. Why reduce and have it come off the wrong place? We level all bumps and you can eat a box of chocolates while we are doing it.Ē

I know just lots of Women that if they could get certain outer sections removed, as long as the Madula Oblong Gota was not disturbed, would fall for it in a minute. Besides look at the conversation it would give them after the thing was over. But that has nothing to do with what-ever I was talking about. I just happened to think of it and want to see it adopted, so we can start feeding Women again.

1Edward Vernon ďEddieĒ Rickenbacker, American aviator and airline executive who as a flight commander during World War I personally disabled twenty-six enemy aircraft.
2For Reed Smoot see WA 335:N 14.
3William James and Charles Horace Mayo, American surgeons who co-founded the world famous Mayo Clinic at Rochester, Minnesota, in 1889. The brothers remained active at the clinic and an affiliated research foundation until their deaths in 1939.
4Francis Heenen ďPeachesĒ Browning, fifteen-year-old New York City schoolgirl who married Edward West Browning, a wealthy fifty-year-old real estate operator, in the spring of 1926. The couple lived together for ten months and then, after a widely-publicized trial, separated.
5Edward Clarence Moore, well-known surgical specialist and physician in the Los Angeles area and, later, a clinical professor of surgery at the University of Southern California. Moore performed gall bladder surgery on Rogers in the summer of 1927. Percival Gordon White, Los Angeles physician and specialist in internal medicine; partner of Dr. Edward Moore.